Monday, August 5, 2013

Sat, 3 Aug - Centennial Mountains and gear troubles

Met 11 south bound thru hikers today in groups of 2-3.  Most had the same comment about not liking the trail between here and Lima.  I am not sure why because it was pretty nice to me.  Open grassy meadows of wildflowers, views walking along the divide, rolling hills and nice views.  You hike all along the border skipping in and out of Montana and Idaho which is kind of neat.  And also hike through area labeled "Sheep Experimental Station".  I kept expecting to see genetically mutated human sheep creatures from some horror movie.

Was having a great day until the zipper broke on my backpack hip pocket.  The same one I had replaced back in Colorado and cost $20.  Then I noticed the other pocket zipper was starting to fail.  Next the flex tip on my hiking pole bent.  These are brand new tips I put on just a couple weeks ago.  

Then the worst happened.  My GPS batteries had died a few days ago.  The trail was fairly easy to follow by map but at lunch the trail faded out. I put new batteries into the gps but when it turned on it was brain dead. No maps, waypoints, or tracks.  I tried to reseat the memory card and that's when I found it was missing!  It must have fell out when I changed batteries.  I searched for an hour but no luck.  Not sure if it fell out here or back a few days when I took out the dead batteries.  The card is so small it's like looking for a needle in a hay stack and I had to finally give up.

Since I wasn't exactly sure where I was on the map I gave myself a good guess and the map indicated I stay on the ridge of the divide.  I hiked on along the ridge finding one overturned CDT post but no trail.  In hindsight I think the trail switched backed down to a saddle and crossed onto a parallel ridge.  By the time I realized this I was pretty far along and ended up taking a three mile bushwhack steeply down into a valley and then steeply up the other ridge finally finding the real trail.  I was very careful to follow my map and compass the rest of the day once I knew my location!  

Despite my gear issues it was a very nice day of hiking.  I had thought I might make Lima by doing two 30+ mile days but with my bush whacking and searching for the GPS memory card, not to mention talking with all the new thru hikers I meet, I figured I will not make it.  So, when I came to a picnic table, fire ring and bear locker at the trailhead, miles before Aldous lake that I was hiking to; I decided this was a fine camp for the night. 


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